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Asher Arian and Michal Shamir, "A Decade Later, the World Had changed, the Cleavage Structure Remained: Israel 1996-2006," Party Politics, 14 (November, 2008), 685-705.

First paragraph:
Rent asunder by a persistent split between two opposing views of the political environment, the enemy and the solution, the Israeli polity has been unable to fashion a persistent policy with which to face the combination of Arab intransigence and Palestinian efforts to win independence ever since f the leaders some of the time (Rabin, Barak, Sharon) have been associated with dire reactions from some Jews, including assassination, and fierce struggles over legitimacy, as well as the outbreak of violence and terror on the Palestinian side. At other times, less conciliatory positions (Shamir, Netanyahu, Sharon) have been pursued; these policies might have assuaged Jewish militants, but the results have been neither stable nor pacific.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Model of difference, divide, and cleavage
Table 1. Scale types,a 1996 and 2006
Table 2. Scale types (1-9) by attitudes and vote, 1996 and 2006
Table 3. Means of external and internal scales by religious observance, 1996 and 2006
Figure 2. Probabilities of voting Kadima, Labor and Likud, by issue positions

Second to Last Paragraph:
The restructuring of the party system in 2006 was unmistakably along the major cleavage dimension of Israeli politics, and was buttressed by the prevailing social divides of religiosity, class and ethnicity. Their role did not change; if anything, it may even have been heightened (Shamir et al., 2008). The shifting vote patterns were not grounded in changing social coalitions or issue dimensions, they built upon and restated the existing ones. No significant new dimension emerged, nor was there any indication of a shakeup of the traditional social bases of the vote. The social-economic agenda promoted by Amir Peretz, which seemed to eclipse security concerns early on in the campaign, lost its lead as the campaign dragged on. The socialeconomic cleavage did not emerge as a significant dimension in most voters' considerations, nor did it materialize in a significant redrawing of the social basis of the vote. Amir Peretz as Minister of Defence, and the insignificance of Labor in the formulation of social and economic policy in Olmert's government, banished the thought that this cleavage could emerge as a dominant force in Israeli politics in the foreseeable future. The territories, and more essentially the collective identity dilemmas we illuminated in this article, remained the major issues of contention. Kadima is primarily one more milestone on the long road to dealignment of the Israeli party system, and the strong hold of the territories as the primary driver of the Israeli political system.

Last updated December 2008